NSF Awards Neuroscientist $867,000 CAREER Grant

Khaleel A. Razak

Khaleel A. Razak

Khaleel A. Razak, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience, has been awarded a five-year, $866,902 Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) grant from the National Science Foundation to further his research on auditory processing and sound localization.

Razak’s lab at UCR focuses on how the auditory brain processes behaviorally relevant sounds and how those mechanisms are altered by developmental experience, disease and aging. The NSF grant will specifically support research on how the auditory cortex of the brain processes information about sound locations.

Scientist Honored by City of Riverside

Anandasankar Ray received the Innovation Honoree of the Month award from City of Riverside

Anandasankar Ray received the Innovation Honoree of the Month award from City of Riverside

Anandasankar Ray, associate professor of entomology, was recognized on Oct. 8 as the Innovation Honoree by the Month by the city of Riverside. He received the award from Mayor Rusty Bailey.

Research of the volatile odor molecules that can impair, if not completely disrupt, mosquitoes’ carbon dioxide detection machinery was performed initially in Ray’s laboratory, Olfactor Laboratories Inc. (OLI), in Riverside. This research led to the development at OLI of the Kite Mosquito Patch, the world’s first product that blocks mosquitoes’ ability to efficiently detect carbon dioxide, their primary method of tracking human blood meals.

In the City Council Chambers, where Ray was honored yesterday, he said he was pleased to see research get translated into a product that makes it to market.

Ph.D. Candidate Receives Research Award

Seth Archer, a Ph.D. candidate in history, has been awarded a $20,000 dissertation fellowship by the University of California Humanities Research Institute. The Andrew Vincent White and Florence Wales White Dissertation Fellowship will support him for nine months while he completes his dissertation and prepares an article for publication.

His dissertation, “Sharks upon the Land: Epidemics and Culture in Hawai’i, 1778-1865,” which will be completed in 2014, traces the cultural impact of introduced infectious disease in Hawai‘i from the arrival of Europeans to 1865.

“I argue that health was the national crisis of the Hawaiian Islands for over a century — more chronic than labor strife and land-use disputes, more pressing than self-determination and the struggle for sovereignty,” he explained. “The introduction of Old World diseases — bearing directly on the above challenges — resulted in drastically reduced life spans, crushing infertility and infant mortality, and persistent poor health for generations of Hawaiians. The ma‘i malihini (introduced diseases) also left a deep imprint on Hawaiian culture and on the Hawaiian national consciousness.”

While scholars have noted the role of epidemics in the depopulation of Hawai‘i, few have considered the effects of Old World diseases on Hawaiian society and culture, including religion, medicine, gender, and family structure. “My work aims to fill this important gap, while at the same time providing a comparative case study for disease and culture change among indigenous populations worldwide,” he said.

Archer’s dissertation advisor is Steven W. Hackel, associate professor of history.

Doctoral Candidate Wins American Fellowship

Michelle T. Summers, a doctoral candidate in critical dance studies, has won a $20,000 American Fellowship from the American Association of University Women. The fellowship will cover living expenses while Summers writes her dissertation about Christian sacred dance in the United States. She expects to complete her dissertation in June 2014.

Summers, a Pasadena resident, has danced professionally with Contemporary Ballet Dallas and Casa Mañana Equity Theatre. While a student at UCR, she has presented her research at conferences hosted by Harvard’s Cambridge Talks, the Congress on Research in Dance, the Society of Dance History Scholars, and UCLA’s Thinking Gender. She has multiple publications including a forthcoming article, “Forbidden Altars: U.S. Liturgical Dance after the Second Vatican Council,” in the Conversations Across the Field of Dance Studies journal. Her choreography has been presented at the San Diego Dance on the Edge Festival, Temecula DanceXchange, the Culver Center for the Arts, Dance New Amsterdam, the Barefoot Brigade Festival, Dallas Dance for the Planet, and Regional Dance America.

Summers said she is fascinated by where and when Christian sacred dance performances cropped up.

“Dance is usually not a traditional part of the Christian worship service and in fact is often forbidden as too sexual or too worldly,” she explained. “The dancers who practice Christian dance forms have to surmount a great deal of obstacles in order to use dance as a form of worship, so I am interested in the strategies and tactics that they employ in order to make this happen.”

Her dissertation also explores how this art form allows women to occupy roles of religious leadership within a male-dominated world of religion. She also will examine the historical conditions that allowed the possibility for sacred/liturgical dance to arise, such as the Second Vatican Council, the emphasis on modern dance as expression, the Christian dance fitness craze, and the prevalence of women in dance education at the university level.

Her dissertation adviser is Jacqueline Shea Murphy, associate professor and chair of the Department of Dance.

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